Western Research Parks was recognized as tops among its peers by receiving the 2016 Outstanding Research Park Award from the Association of University Research Parks, the organization announced recently as part of its 2016 International Conference in Oklahoma City.
Western is only the third research park from Canada and the first from Ontario to receive this award. Past recipients in North America include North Carolina’s Research Triangle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Purdue University and the University of Maryland. The award is presented to universities and research parks “operating effectively and making a quantifiable contribution to their respective communities.”
Western’s community of three research park campuses includes the original park, now named Western Discovery Park; the Western Advanced Manufacturing Park; and the Western-Sarnia-Lambton Research Park.
“Western is extremely proud to be the first research park in Ontario to receive this recognition,” Western President Amit Chakma said. “Not only are we creating a world-class research culture at Western, but we’re doing so in conjunction with our community to bring both economic and societal benefits locally, nationally and internationally.”
The parks serve as a major showcase of Western’s commitment to both research, with the Stiller Centre, Canada’s largest biotech incubator, and Bowman Centre, Canada’s largest clean-tech incubator, focused on large-scale industrial technology. The parks contribute an estimated $125 million in economic development and engagement back to the local community, Vice-President (Research) John Capone stressed.
“This is a fitting recognition for our research parks, which have played a significant role in fortifying relationships between academics and the business community for nearly 30 years,” he continued. “We’re proud of the companies the parks have attracted, strengthened and retained in our region – allowing us to become a key contributor to southwestern Ontario’s business ecosystem.”
Other individuals and organizations recognized at the 2016 Awards of Excellence event include:
- Emerging Research Park Award, University of Wollongong Innovation Campus in Australia;
- Vision Award, Eileen Walker, former Chief Executive Officer at Association of University Research Parks;
- Career Achievement Award, David Baker, Vice-President of External Affairs at the Illinois Institute of Technology;
- Leadership Award, Dennis Kekas, Associate Vice-Chancellor at Centennial Campus, North Carolina State University;
- Innovation Awards, NOMADD of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and the Emerge Center at the Louisiana State University Innovation Park;
- Appreciation Award, Steve Hanssen, recently retired as Director of Development for Wexford Science & Technology in Baltimore, Maryland;
“We are very proud of our 21st Annual Awards of Excellence winners this year,” said Charles D’Agostino, Association of University Research Parks President. “The depth and breadth of our winners demonstrate the caliber of parks and talent that makes up our incredible association.”
The Association of University Research Parks is a professional association of university related research and science parks. AURP’s mission is to foster innovation, commercialization and economic growth through university, industry and government partnerships.